Triple fireballs blasted across the skies over Virginia and Pennsylvania and off the coast of New England states in three separate events Tuesday night.
Judging from the descriptions and videos in the initial reports, it’s possible that each was a meteorite. A bit of debris broke off a passing asteroid.
The Space Component Command of the US Joint Force at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California is monitoring the decaying orbits of four Starlink communications satellites launched early last year, although they are not expected to re-enter the atmosphere for several days.
Above Richmond, Virginia
This fireball was seen around 10:30 p.m. by observers from South Carolina to the New York City area, and flew south over the Richmond area. Witnesses traveling south on I-95 described slowing traffic as the meteor flashed 50 miles over central Virginia.Fireball near Richmond, Virginia, recorded by dashboard camera on I-81 North near Kingsport, TN (video courtesy AMS/Scannerfood)
The meteor disintegrated in a flash a few seconds later about 20 miles above the area between Petersburg and Richmond. Based on the initial paths computed from Reports to the American Meteor Society, that is, parts of the meteorite that survived on Earth, then called a meteorite, will end up in Dinwiddy County.
However, meteorites usually evaporate as they race through the atmosphere. It is very rare to find the rare item that hits the ground.
West Scranton, Pennsylvania
Shortly after 8 p.m., a fireball was seen traveling north from Virginia to northern New York and as far west as Ohio.
Witness description A bright trail that changed colors, and came apart as it fell from about 50 miles over the Pocono Mountains.Fireball near Scranton, Pennsylvania, recorded by a security camera 100 miles to the west (Video from AMS/Jeffrey Burke)
Off the coast of New England
about 6:30 p.m., about two hours after sunset, Observers gathered around Boston Reported seeing a fireball off the Atlantic coast moving west towards the Maine and New Hampshire border.
The meteorite has been described as a very bright white color that is very fast and does not leave a trace. Unlike other events later in the evening, this meteor would likely have shattered
Did you see him?
The American Meteorite Society, a non-profit organization that monitors meteorite activity around the world, collects reports from eyewitnesses of all levels of experience, and the website takes you step-by-step through Report what you saw.